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Use of the SOP locking plate system on a wolf cub

01 June 2014, at 1:00am

Tim Garran presents a case study of a maned wolf cub in need of orthopaedic surgery

A 10-week-old, 4.95kg maned wolf cub (originating from South America) came from the Rare Breed Conservation Centre in Sandwich.

Having got trapped in a hawthorn tree, the wolf had a mid-diaphyseal, long oblique fracture of the (right) radius and a straight mid diaphyseal fracture of the ulna. The case had many considerations before surgery: 

  • the cub is essentially wild so post-op care and restriction will be limited; 
  • reduced implant holding capability due to the juvenile, soft bone; 
  • when fully grown, the maned wolf has very long legs, meaning accurate reduction and fixation is required; internal fixation would be the only option.

The SOP locking plate system (Orthomed) was used for a variety of reasons: 

  • the plates can be quickly and easily contoured; the locking technology indicated in soft bone;
  • performed ridged internal fixation without the need to fill all the screw holes.

A medial approach to the radius and ulna was taken and the fracture of the radius was reduced.

An appropriate length SOP plate was contoured appropriately and three bicortical screws were applied to the proximal and distal fragments.

Post-ops show good axial and special alignment and a fissure was generated on reduction of the fracture.

Post-operatively there was some swelling which was unable to be bandaged but by the following day the cub was weight bearing. Two weeks later the keepers say he is doing very well. The swelling has resolved and he is using the limb.

He is expected to make a full recovery. 


The author would like to thank The Rare Breed Conservation Centre, Sandwich, for permission to use this case. Information on the centre and zoological gardens can be found at